Education Synergy Alliance Granted $350,000 to Continue Supporting Linked Learning

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Funding to Help Implement 28 Linked Learning Pathways at High Schools in San Diego County

Our educators, our community and our students are enthusiastic about this next-generation high school model.

Education Synergy Alliance (ESA), an organization sparking transformative change in San Diego education, announced today that it received $250,000 from The James Irvine Foundation and an additional $100,000 from the local Moxie Foundation.

ESA will use the funds to provide the support districts need to give thousands of San Diego County high school students real world work-based experiences and make their learning relevant to their future goals and aspirations. This approach, known as Linked Learning, integrates rigorous academics with career-based learning in the classroom and professional learning opportunities including job shadowing and internships. Linked Learning students also receive personalized support in academics and the postsecondary decision-making process.

These latest gifts allow the community to build on 2013 grants totaling $490,000 from the Irvine and Moxie Foundations, along with a gift from Norm Hapke and Valerie Jacobs. The initial grants funded regional planning efforts for Linked Learning pathway expansion and training for teachers.

The new funds will allow ESA to continue to support the San Diego, Carlsbad, Escondido, Grossmont and Oceanside districts as they start implementing Linked Learning pathways in 26 high schools this fall. The funding will also be used to train teachers and administrators, recruit employer partners, and support collaboration among participating districts, universities, community colleges, and community-based organizations. The initiative receives technical assistance from ConnectEd California, a statewide leader of the Linked Learning approach.

“Our educators, our community and our students are enthusiastic about this next-generation high school model,” said Laura Kohn, Executive Director for the Education Synergy Alliance. “As we work together to implement Linked Learning across our region, we invite those in San Diego County who are interested in utilizing or supporting Linked Learning to join us.”

About Linked Learning in San Diego

Linked Learning ignites high school students’ passions through personally relevant, industry-themed pathways in a wide range of fields such as engineering, health care, performing arts, law, and more. The pathways that San Diego schools are implementing include the following sectors: advanced manufacturing and engineering; business, law and entrepreneurship; environmental design and advanced transportation/renewables; health and bioscience; information and communications technology; and life sciences.

The five participating districts so far have already selected Linked Learning directors and hosted summer teacher institutes to prepare for the upcoming school year. One hundred forty-six teachers representing 23 pathways participated in the training so far, and more will be trained in August and this fall.

On June 25, Linked Learning San Diego (LLSD) hosted a regional planning summit at University of San Diego with 72 leaders from education, business, government and nonprofits. The focus of the event was on how to scale work-based learning opportunities to serve all students in career pathways throughout the San Diego region. The workshop resulted in eight groups addressing five sub-challenges related to scaling work-based learning opportunities. Each developed prototypes, and now ESA is translating these outcomes into the planning and implementation phase in time for fall. A follow up meeting with the regional network to take the next steps is planned for early October.


Education Synergy Alliance

Education Synergy Alliance (ESA) mobilizes resources and multi-sector partners across San Diego County to spark transformative change in education. ESA is a champion for proven initiatives such as Linked Learning and early education P-3, and leads efforts to amplify and scale them through local and outside funding sources. The organization launched in October 2013 to become the forward-thinking and inclusive regional education organization for San Diego.

Linked Learning San Diego Consortium (LLSD)

LLSD includes Education Synergy Alliance, ConnectEd and SDCOE in partnership with school districts, community college districts, colleges and universities, and business and community partners. LLSD is a regional partner to the Linked Learning Alliance, a statewide coalition of education, industry, and community organizations dedicated to improving California’s high schools and preparing students for success in college, career, and life. For more on Linked Learning, visit

About The James Irvine Foundation

The James Irvine Foundation is a private, nonprofit grantmaking foundation dedicated to expanding opportunity for the people of California to participate in a vibrant, successful and inclusive society. The Foundation’s grantmaking focuses on three program areas: Arts, California Democracy and Youth. Since 1937 the Foundation has provided over $1.3 billion in grants to more than 3,500 nonprofit organizations throughout California. With about $1.8 billion in assets, the Foundation made grants of $69 million in 2013 for the people of California.

For more information about the Irvine Foundation, please visit our Web site at or call 415.777.2244.

About the Moxie Foundation

Vision: A society of economically independent, informed individuals who engage in their community and enhance the value of community.

The Moxie Foundation’s grant making concentrates on university-based product and social entrepreneurism, women’s entitlement programs in Africa and schooling operations in India. The Moxie Foundation is dedicated to enriching and empowering individuals and communities by advancing educational achievement and entrepreneurial success, personal health, and the environment.

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Kim Richards
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